What's the most important rule of design? Of website design? When designing presentation slides? When trying to get your message across to your target audience?
There are, of course, many different rules that are important, but "keep it simple" will likely be among the first things that come to mind for many designers, marketers, writers, and anyone seeking to effectively convey messages to their audiences. This simple piece of advice about simplicity has an infinite amount of wisdom that seems to apply to so many aspects of our lives – including, of course, various aspects of creating, designing, and promoting stories and messages that influence travel decisions and travelers' behavior.
Convey Your Message Without PowerPoint
Here, I refer to PowerPoint not necessarily as the actual tool itself (Microsoft PowerPoint), but the very common practice of using slides (with text, photos, and various other elements) to explain a concept, make a point, or present a case.
Since presentations, lectures, speeches, workshops, webinars, and even just casual chats between colleagues are about conveying messages and telling stories, it’s important that the delivery method that you choose optimizes those main goals.
And effective delivery is even more important when thinking about marketing messages, where you're likely dealing with an audience with much shorter attention span.
When creating your marketing materials and content pieces about your business, destination or travel experiences, therefore, it’s helpful to ask yourself, is my main message clearly communicated? Can my audience easily understand it?
A good way to answer that question is to try and summarize your point as simply and concisely as possible. Can you explain that concept in… 20 images x 20 seconds? Just one slide? 50 words or less? One simple image or a sentence? Or even a dance?
These alternative approaches to conveying messages offer a great opportunity to reflect on the importance of simplicity in how we communicate and how we present our content in an effective, efficient, and engaging manner.
Simple Doesn't Have to Mean Simplistic
Conveying your message in a simple manner does not mean you need to sacrifice the passion behind what makes your message special. It's not just about the length of your copy or the complexity of your concept: what's important that your audience will "get" your message - that they'd be able to easily understand it and readily share it with others.
Maptia, a community platform for quality travel storytelling, is a great example of a concept built on a simple idea that represents thoughtful and profound messages. Mapitia's "Travel Manifesto", for example, engages travelers from around the world in the simple act of sharing their love of adventure and their passion for seeking new experiences.
Maptia community members share their travel "selfies" with the Travel Menifesto (Maptia Blog)
So, as you remember to "keep it simple" when crafting your messages and describing your ideas, be sure also to keep in mind that a key part of keeping your marketing approach simple is to focus on effectively attracting and engaging your target audience in a way that's easy for them to relate to.
Can someone who's new to your company or program easily remember what your mission is? Can they explain your idea or concept to others (when - hopefully - they want to recommend you to their friends and family), and can they do that in a way that really conveys the essence of your message?
Memorable Tourism Marketing Campaigns
Of course, one important aspect of their successes is the marketing genius who came up with the consice and impactful copy. But what really makes them catchy and compelling is the experience of the place behind the message. The copy conjures up images of the things that make the destination exciting and attractive to travelers - adventure, culturel, passion, people - in a way that says "YOU can find this here".
Simply breathtaking: Instagram images from @PureNewZealand
Another piece of the wisdom of keeping it simple is that it's not just the simple, cleaver, catchy copy that matters, but it's the emotions, desires and inspirations that your message brings to the minds of your audience.
What do YOU think? What are some of your favorite examples of simple yet effective and engaging travel marketing campaigns or tourism communications? Share your experiences, ideas, and suggestions on ow tourism businesses, destinations and travel brands can "Keep It Simple" and effective when sharing their stories and messages.